Given that the majority of Americans get what seems to be about three and a half days of
holidayvacation every year, most people try to take advantage of the bankpublic holidays by getting away for the weekend. And it was no different in the Brit Out Of Water household, with The Special One and I taking a trip down to East Tennessee to see my new extended family.
From the moment you leave the airport, it’s immediately clear that there’s just a much more relaxed and laid-back way of life down there. From the Hertz representative happy to laugh and joke, to the cars driving at about 40mph on the
motorwayinterstate, it’s like the weight of the world has been lifted off people’s shoulders.
The fact is that the level of trust that people place in their fellow man increases in direct proportion with the number of miles away from New York you are. Having stopped off in the city centre to get some food, I engaged in the following conversation with The Special One, who lived in the area for the first thirteen years of her life and has been a regular visitor ever since:
Brit Out Of Water: “What should I do with my laptop?”
The Special One: “Erm, put it under the seat. I suppose I should lock the car.”
Brit Out Of Water (incredulous): “Would you not lock it otherwise?”
The Special One (puzzled): “Why would I lock the car around here?”
All this from a woman who generally double locks the door to our New York apartment before I’ve even had a chance to get inside.
Nothing however beats the (admittedly terrible quality) image you can see above. It’s one thing to be confident enough to leave your parked car unlocked, but maybe you only know you’re in a truly safe place when you’re able to leave your ignition key sitting on the dashboard? Add in the pleasant customer service and the fact that even passing strangers smile or say hello, and you know you’ve come across a wholly different way of life.
Of course, the idyll was shattered when we got back to the airport gate this morning to be greeted by a hundred or so coffee-swilling New Yorkers, but that’s probably a different story.